It’s Christmastime in the City

There is just something about Christmastime in NYC. The glistening lights, magnificent Christmas trees, and beautiful decorations exude a sense of pure magic. This is one of my favorite times of year living in the city, and I am excited to share a list of my favorites from last year and a list of new things I hope to check out this year!

My Favorites

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree – How could this not be at the top of my list?! This tree is absolutely breathtaking! I may or may not have teared up the first time I saw it.

The Light Show at Saks Fifth Avenue – Before venturing out to see the sites last year, I did a lot of reading to figure out a plan on what to see. I read so many articles talking about the window displays put on by the big department stores, but I never saw anything about the light show put on by Saks Fifth Avenue. Don’t get me wrong, the window displays are definitely a site worth seeing, but this light show is absolutely spectacular! I am already looking forward to watching it again this year.

Bryant Park’s Winter Village – Bryant Park is one of my favorite spots in Midtown Manhattan, especially during Christmastime when it transforms into an adorable winter village. Last year we went mainly to look at the beautiful Christmas tree they had set up in the park, but this year I am looking forward to spending more time exploring the shops and trying some new foods!

The Christmas Tree at Washington Square Park – If you can’t tell by now, I am kinda a big fan of Christmas trees, and this tree was definitely a favorite. Ryan’s coworker told him about this one, and when he described it to me, I knew we had to make the trek to see it!

What I’m Looking Forward to This Year

The Union Square Holiday Market – I had this on my list of places to visit last year, but didn’t have the time to check it out. I am excited to check out what these local vendors have to offer!

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden – I have no idea what to expect, but I am really excited to see what this train show is all about. I have seen multiple advertisements for it around the city, so that means it has to be a pretty big deal, right?!

The Grand Central Holiday Fair – This is a holiday market located inside of Grand Central Station. I am looking forward to seeing what vendors have to offer while escaping the cold temperatures outside!

Writing this post makes me anxious to get out and explore my favorite sites and hopefully find some new favorites! If you are heading to NYC this Christmas season, I hope this helps give you an idea of some of the many things to do this time of year.

Menu Monday

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here is some dinner inspiration for this week. 🙂

MondayTrader Joe’s Frozen Cauliflower Fried Rice – I have been waiting to try this frozen meal for weeks! I’ll update the post after we give it a try.

TuesdayChicken/Green Beans/Potatoes – I use only about a fourth of the butter that the recipe calls for, and I use 2 tablespoons of this homemade Italian seasoning mix (**This Italian seasoning recipe is not my own.  I wish I could remember where I found this recipe, so I could post the link**).

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. dried celery flakes

WednesdaySlow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup – I make my own condensed cream of chicken soup following this recipe.

Thursday – Spaghetti served with broccoli and Trader Joe’s frozen garlic naan bread

Friday – Sloppy Joes with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans – Trader Joe’s sells frozen mashed sweet potatoes, and they heat up super quickly in the microwave!

Happy Cooking 🙂

Popular Podcast Picks

Before moving to NYC, I had never given much thought to podcasts. Sure, I heard many people talking about them (including my husband), but I just never really got into it. As I got more into my routine in NYC, I found that I was spending a lot of my time either walking or commuting by subway and realized that I needed something to help pass the time. That is how I entered the wonderful world of podcasts. Podcasts range in topics from news to sports to specialized fields of study to crime stories to stories of everyday life and much, much more. There really is something for everyone. Ryan and I definitely have different tastes in podcasts, so I wanted us each to share a list of our favorites!

Jessica’s Favorite Podcasts

  1. What Should I Read Next? – My sister-in-law, Tiffany, was the first person to tell me about this podcast, and I am SO glad she did. In each episode, the host, Anne Bogel, asks guests to list 3 books they love, 1 book they hate, and what they are reading now in order for her to be able to give them 3 good recommendations of books they should read next. I’ve been faithfully listening to this podcast for about a year now, and my to-read list is now officially out of control.
  2. The World in Words – Ryan stumbled upon this podcast and thought it would be just up my alley. He was totally right. This podcast is made for the language lover. They discuss a variety of different topics all relating to different aspects of language.
  3. The Bible Project – This podcast is a favorite of both Ryan and me. In each episode, the hosts, Tim and Jon, discuss a wide range of topics relating to the Bible and theology. These episodes are so deep that we usually have to listen to them a few times to truly glean all the truth packed into each episode.
  4. Awesome Etiquette – This podcast seeks to answer listeners’ questions about etiquette in the 21st century. Although the hosts can get a little cheesy at times, this podcast is a fun listen and offers some helpful tips on some tricky situations.
  5. This American Life – Recently, I was looking for something new to add to my list of podcasts. I really wanted to listen to a good story, and I saw that this podcast was really popular and decided to give it a try. Each episode contains 3 or 4 stories all relating to a particular theme. Although some stories/themes are more interesting than others, I definitely enjoy listening to this podcast each week.

Ryan’s Favorite Podcasts

  1. Men in Blazers – This is a weekly podcast that summarizes the English Premier League soccer games from the previous week with a sarcastic, humorous twist. In each episode, you will find a witty dialogue of pop culture and soccer analysis.
  2. The Total Soccer Show – A daily podcast that seeks to break down soccer games from a variety of leagues/teams. Each episode offers informed discussion to help educate others on the intricacies of soccer. If you are a soccer fan, you will definitely want to give this podcast a listen!
  3. The World and Everything In It – A daily podcast offering bite-sized, daily news from a Christian worldview.
  4. Macro Musings – A weekly podcast discussing American economic issues. In each episode, the host will interview a guest regarding different macroeconomics topics. This is a great podcast to listen to if you are looking to learn more about economics.

What are some of your current podcast favorites? Leave me a comment below!

Menu Monday

Sorry it has been quiet on the blog for the last few weeks. Ryan and I just got back from a 2-week vacation to the UK (I will be sharing more about our travels later!). We had a blast, but I am excited to get back to home-cooked food this week!

Monday – Chili with TJ Cornbread Crisps and salad – The chili recipe that I use all the time is my Aunt Anita’s, and it is SO good! Give it a try!

Aunt Anita’s Chili Recipe

1 lb. lean ground beef (or ground turkey – I use ground turkey)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz. can pumpkin
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 t. chili powder
2 t. honey
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 t. salt

Brown ground beef in a large pot over medium heat, stirring to crumble; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients; reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for one to two hours, adding water as necessary. Can also be combined in a crock pot and cooked on low for 6 – 8 hours. (9 times out of 10 I will make this recipe in the crock pot!)

TuesdayHawaiian Cauliflower Fried Rice – Scroll down to the end of the article to find the recipe. Next time I make this recipe, I think I will substitute another vegetable for the peas since Ryan and I aren’t big pea fans.

WednesdayPotato Soup with bread and salad – I substitute thick sliced deli ham for the bacon in this recipe.

ThursdayRoasted Chicken and Veggies served over rice or noodles.

FridaySlow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls – I know I have shared this recipe before, but it is so good that I had to share it again.

Happy Cooking 🙂